THE BLOG

World Suicide Prevention Efforts in British Columbia

09/10/2015 11:33 EDT | Updated 09/10/2016 05:12 EDT

2015-09-09-1441825051-5216249-headsupguyssept10text.jpeg Photo credit Joel Robison and Heads Up Guys

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is certainly true of the conceptual portraiture of Joel Robison, a talented and highly creative photographer based out of Cranbrook, B.C. "Mind blowing," "surreal" and "reflective" are words that have been used to describe the fruits of Robison's artistic labour. His innovative photography has become incredibly popular on social media, with nearly a quarter of a million fans following his work on Facebook and another nearly 30,000 following along on Instagram.

An accomplished photographer, Joel Robison was hired by Coca Cola for the FIFA World Cup Tour to capture happiness in over 90 countries during a 9 month period. The year before, he collaborated with two other photographers in touring the United States and teaching portrait workshops to 100 students on a non-profit basis. While his interest and excellence in photography has given Joel the unparalleled opportunity to travel the world, his heart remains at home in Canada and focused on building community capacity and improving mental health awareness.

Recently, Joel Robison lent his name and participated as a community champion for a Canadian mental health awareness focused clothing line called "Wear Your Label." Through this partnership, he openly shared his struggle with depression, anxiety and ADD in their campaign. In publicizing his deeply personal story and mental health challenges, he became connected with a made in British Columbia mental health awareness project, Heads Up Guys, and decided to further give back to the community through the unique aesthetic of his artistry.

Funded by the Movember Foundation, the group is focused on bringing enhanced awareness to depression in men. Heads Up Guys forms part of the Men's Depression and Suicide Network, which was founded in 2014. The network is a Canada-wide initiative to develop resources, services, and programs to improve the mental health and well-being of men. In support of their mission, Joel Robison created a stunning new image to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day.

World Suicide Prevention Day is of particularly importance to Heads Up Guys. Suicide is the second most common cause of death among Canadian men aged 15 to 34. The organization focuses on suicide because suicide rates among Canadian men are four times higher than they are in Canadian women, and depression is one of the leading causes. The image Robison created is the first of a number of planned photographic collaborations which will be released in October 2015.

There have been thousands of words written about the prevalence of suicide among men. Thanks to the efforts of Joel Robison in collaboration with Heads Up Guys, there is also a powerful new image to bring awareness to the issue. Suicide is a serious global problem, as documented thoroughly by the World Health Organization. Mental Health professionals and a photographer local to British Columbia are working hard to improve the odds of survival for men suffering from depression all over the world through the unmatched reach of the Internet and the universal language of art.

You can find other posts by Alison Tedford about mental health awareness on Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops and more information about Heads Up Guys on their website.

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